NHL Betting: Capitals to block Rangers hopes

All-Canadian match-ups have been a rarity in recent years and that means Ottawa against Montreal has been attracting even more attention than usual north of the border, as they prepare for Game 1. 

Questions have been raised over Montreal's credentials after some defensive collapses towards the end of the regular season. In contrast, Ottawa give very little away but need to step it up in the goalscoring department. 

One intriguing plot is two of the best offensive defenceman PK Subban and Erik Karlsson on opposing sides of the puck. Whoever wins that battle might be the deciding factor and I'd back Karlsson as the more complete player. I like Ottawa's chances in this game and the series overall, so take the Sens tonight at 3.10. 

With regards to odds of going through, the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers are pretty even at 1.82 to 1.92 in favour of the Rangers. Both are seen as outside challengers thanks to the way they've played in the last month. 

It'll be the fourth time in the last five seasons they've met in the post-season, it took New York seven games in the second round last year. 

Washington might be the hottest team entering the play-offs and if they continue in the same attacking vein I'm not sure the Rangers can match them. Back the Capitals to start off well at 2.30.

It's on to Game 2 for the St Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings with the Blues one up after a cruel moment in overtime for LA goalie Jonathan Quick. With St Louis much the better team on the night, Quick had kept them in the game, but when playing the puck he was robbed by Alex Steen who scored his second of the night in to an empty net. 

Setting the tempo early through their wrecking ball of a fourth line allowed the Blues to take control and the Kings have to match them in that physical battle to win this series. If St Louis do repeat their intensity I like their chances with a -1.5 handicap at 3.60.

Best Bet: Washington Capitals to win at 2.30

Follow Mike Fuller's NHL betting tips every day